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The Hobbit Companion Hardcover – February 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158663528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586635282
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,618,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Day's enthusiasm is infectious, and he concisely retells the myths he examines with some verve." —SFX Magazine on Tolkien's Ring


"This is lavishly illustrated, and a genuinely pleasant read for the novice to the Hobbit lore, as well as seasoned fans." - Monsters and Critics.com

"A veritable who's who of Middle-earth, the text pieces are complemented by the beautifully rendered watercolor illustrations. This is The Hobbit seen in a whole new light." — Boyce McClain's Collectors' Corner.com

"Intriguing to the uninitiated and enchanting to the Tolkien enthusiast, this companion can only enhance one's enjoyment of his dark, mysterious world." — Bookgasm.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Day is the author of more than 20 books, including Guide to Tolkien's World, Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia, A Tolkien Bestiary, and Tolkien's Ring. Lidia Postma is a highly regarded illustrator of both childrens and adult fantasy books.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Barrow-Wight on February 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
From its title, I assumed that The Hobbit Companion was similar to other `companion' books I have seen before. I expected to find a kind of encyclopedic volume full of descriptions of hobbitish people, places, and things, and all accompanied by colorful illustrations (judging by its cover, the illustrations would be quite nice). It would no doubt include the backgrounds of the members of Thorin and Company and, of course, a complete history of Gandalf and Smaug.
Well, I was right about the illustrations (they are wonderful), but I was way off on the content, for "The Hobbit Companion" is no ordinary read-along helper designed to explain hobbits and their funny ways. It is not even a look at the story of "The Hobbit". Instead, it is an in-depth look at the particular names used by J.R.R. Tolkien to describe the tale of Bilbo Baggins. The author, David Day takes an etymological scalpel to Bilbo's adventure and lays each invented (and sometimes reinvented) word on the table.
The whole idea of the book is that Tolkien was not just a wordsmith, but also a word trickster. Day shows how names and words such as `hobbits', `Baggins', and `Gollum' (and many, many others) were not picked randomly out of the air, but rather were intentionally molded to convey a multitude of hidden meanings. An example of such cleverness is given in `Baggins' in which `bag' shows what a `money-bags' Mr. Bilbo and his wealthy family were and `bag man' describe the burglar that he became.
The book is full of many interesting and often funny uses of such word-roots, but it is sometimes difficult to tell where the author is citing Tolkien's admitted reasoning for his word choices or if Day is just making them up from his own deductions.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "wyvern40" on December 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For those of you who expect The Hobbit Companion to give you step-by-step insight into Tolkien's prequel of the Lord of the Rings, this might not be the book for you.
The book actually details hobbits as a race; not the book of the same name. But it does so in a very surprising manner.
The study of hobbits (which includes Frodo--this volume does not refer just to one book) delves into the meanings of the words that Tolkien carefully selected and crafted.
Tolkien's mastery of vocabulary and language is made evident as it is broken down and explored, so you can see how the words shaped the story, rather than the other way around. Learn the meanings behind words such as Hobbit, Bilbo, Baggins, Smaug, Frodo, and more. And see how 13 consecutive words in the dictionary from hob to hobo created how we think of hobbits.
If you're an author or wish to become one, you may find this book very enlightening, as it explores Tolkien's thought processes. You'll look at and think of words in a way you never have before.
If you're not, you may find the masterfully done illustrations of hobbit life, which evoke a classic style of art, fascinating in themselves including large illustrations of Gollum, floorplans of Bilbo's home, and a 4-page foldout of Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves.
Finally, the book is exquisitely crafted, which you can tell as soon as you feel the cover. It's meant as a keepsake, and if carefully preserved, it can be a treasured part of your library for generations to come.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I will agree with several of the other reviews - this book is not what you 'expect' it to be - but a very good book nonetheless. When I saw the word "companion", I assumed the book would read more as a study guide. I assumed it would read more like a dictionary of people, places, and things, etc.
This book is more like a walk through Tolkein's head. Have you ever wondered "Where did the word 'Hobbit' come from?" "How did Tolkein come up with the names of his characters?" "How did he build their personalities?"
I found it interesting that Tolkein felt his characters more or less "already existed in another realm and he needed to learn more about them as oppposed to him actually developing them."
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I found it very interesting to learn how such a wonderful story actually came to be... and I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations.
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